The future of Christian publishing should be considered on two levels: Technology and Ideology.
This is part 2, of a 2-part post on the future of Christian publishing. Click here to read part 1.
The major difference between Christian publishing and secular publishing is the message. The Christian message is one of Kingdom come; a King reestablishing His Kingdom on this rebellious planet.
The message of secular publishing is more involved with this kingdom the way it is now, with its subjects taking charge and trying their best to hold the King in the periphery or deny Him altogether.
The closer His Kingdom does come, the more pronounced the difference between the Christian message and the secular message becomes. And because almost all of the major communication platforms are owned and controlled by those with a secular ideology, their hostility toward the Christian message will grow.
The free transmission of the Christian message across secular platforms will become (this is already happening) increasingly restricted due to the secularization of society and the resultant unpopularity of the Christian message. Those who own and control the transmission platforms can simply “turn-off” content that doesn’t jibe with the values of secular culture.
What does this mean for those of us whose lives are committed to sharing the Christian message?
Here are five ideas on which to anchor our ideology strategy:
Work while the sun still shines. There is a battle of ideas being waged daily; this is painfully obvious in every form of media. But this battle hasn’t yet escalated to the point where the Christian message is being universally suppressed. The platforms and media that technology has made available for sharing the Christian message with the world are still wide open. Take advantage of them as much and for as long as possible.
Don’t mistake the shopping mall for home. Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are public places owned by someone else – like a shopping mall. They can be a wonderful place to visit, open up shop, meet new people, and reach the world with your message. They facilitate the sharing of ideas, and audiences aggregating around ideas and interests. They are powerful, efficient and effective platforms for sharing our message with the world. But they’re not our home.
The goal of using any public Social Media platform is to share ideas, create relationships, and then invite your new friends and fans “home,” to your own website. Your website is your domain (literally). You have far more control over your message and your interactions on your own website than you will on public Social Media platforms.
Prepare to be blackballed. Public Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) and e-commerce (Amazon) platforms are owned and controlled by others, others with a secular agenda and worldview. The day the Christian message becomes unpopular or offensive to the secular agenda, those who control these public platforms can and will simply “turn off” Christian channels, pages, and products in their attempt to “turn off” the Christian message. Know it’s coming.
Understand the real goal. The real goal of Christian publishing is to reach the world with the gospel – the good news of God’s Kingdom and how it is demonstrated in a million stories, a million books, from a million perspectives. All Christian books, all Christian messages, whether fiction or non-fiction, Bible study, spirituality, commentary, lifestyle, evangelism, parenting, testimony, men’s interest, women’s interest, or children’s should point to the same message, the Kingdom of God.
Believe in the power of the King. Today’s technology has given us an unprecedented opportunity to reach the world with the Christian message. Today the world’s ideology is less friendly to the Christian message than it has been in in a long, long time.
The New Testament Book of Acts is a history of people sharing the gospel using the communication platforms of the day, and being persecuted for sharing the gospel by those who controlled the communication platforms of the day. The Book of Acts is also a history of people hearing and responding to the gospel for the first time, exponentially growing the Kingdom of God.
The tools and the platforms have changed but the reaction of those who hate the message of “Kingdom come” and the response of those who will be saved by the same message remains very much the same as it was then. And the King, and the power of His Kingdom, I assure you, are very much the same.
Use the unique platforms we’ve been given to share the Christian message. Understand that persecution will come as the Kingdom draws closer, but don’t worry about it. The gospel has always spread best in persecution. That’s the real goal.